During a trip to the Retreat and Links at Silvies Valley Ranch in Eastern Oregon, I spent time learning about the ranch’s growing goat operation. These “American Range Goats” are a breed developed at the ranch and aren’t just any average herd — they have become the main focus of the ranch.

Silvies currently has 2,600 goats and that number continues to increase making it the largest herd of Certified Organic meat goats in the world according to the ranch. The ranch found that the goats provided the answer to their 140,000 acres of land maintenance, assisting with brush, shrubs, thistles, juniper, and even other plants that are toxic to other herbivores.

In addition to that, they found that goats nibbling here and there on different seasonal plants also provided the best flavor for meat, called chevon. It is a win-win scenario.

Even though chevon is the top meat choice for 70 percent of the world, it isn’t in the United States. However, it is starting to make a comeback and Silvies is a big part of the movement. Currently, the demand for chevon is at least double the supply.

The American Range Goats were intentionally bred as a cross of South African Boer, Kalahari Red, and Spanish Goats. This combination was to provide more tender and meaty cuts. Goat meat is one of the healthiest choices of meat, being very high in iron, Omega-3, and protein while additionally containing less fat and cholesterol than skinless chicken breast. The calorie intake is lower than beef, pork or lamb, but all that being said — the meat is succulent, tender, and not lacking in flavor. It quickly became a favorite of mine.

“We are frequently asked what chevon tastes like,” said Silvies Valley Ranch chef, J.D. Campbell. “If you have had goat meat before and it tasted gamey, musky or strong, it was probably older goats from dairies, or feral goats rounded up in Australia. That meat is far from first tier of quality. Chevon’s succulent, clean sweetness gives it the ability to pair well with many different flavor profiles and is the red meat of choice for most peoples and cultures throughout the world.”

Silvies Valley Ranch is utilizing Food Services of America to distribute the meat to restaurants all over. The chevon is Certified Organic, browse-finished, and is bred, born, raised, harvested and prepared all on the ranch.

Learn more at www.silvies.us.

Brittany Arnold is the Douglas County Family editor and can be reached at barnold@nrtoday.com.

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